Australia’s Must See National Parks

Rachel Hughes is a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Gold Coast, Australia.

In such a huge continent it can be hard to determine what to do and where to go a lot of the time. I love nature, so going to as many national parks as possible is on my list while studying abroad in Australia. I’m studying in Gold Coast at Griffith University, so there are multiple beautiful national parks within driving or public transit distance. It’s still summer down under, so it’s nice to go outside and enjoy the different scenery and nature that this beautiful country has to offer. Here are some of my favorite national parks that I have had the pleasure of visiting so far.

Burleigh Heads National Park

Burleigh Heads is a beautiful beach that has a paved walk by the ocean. There is also a forest that you can hike through that will lead back out onto the road. You can see many different species of birds and critters there. On good surfing days you can look out and see professional and amateur surfers riding the beautiful waves. Sometimes they jet-ski further out so they get the really big waves- it’s quite the site. It’s also close to town, so you can go shopping or get some food after. On Sundays, people sit on the hill and watch the sunset with a picnic. It’s so green and lush, and right on the ocean. This is a must see, and just a thirty minute train and bus ride away from Gold Coast.

Glass House Mountains National Park

About an hour north of Brisbane, the Glass House Mountains are a gorgeous sight to see. It’s right off the tram stop in a sleepy little town. I just did the hike on Mt. Ngungun, but there are five mountains with hikes to explore. I went on a foggy day, but it was still gorgeous. There are mountains all around you, and if you’re lucky you might see a koala. The forest is eucalyptus, so it smells great. There are many different hikes that vary in difficulty, so there’s something for everyone. These mountains used to be a spiritual meeting place for Aboriginal people, and there’s a lot of history here too. There’s so much to see and explore.

Springbrook National Park

This one has to be my favorite. Having gone here on an ISA excursion, everything was very accessible. The park was huge, and you could probably spend several days exploring. There are pools that you could swim in, many waterfalls, and cool caves to explore. We saw snakes and lizards and a lot of cool insects. Koalas live in this forest as well, although we didn’t see any. There are good hikes, and incredible views. You can see the entire Gold Coast from one of the lookouts here. It smells great, and you get to hike through the jungle, which is awesome. It’s about an hour away from Gold Coast, so if you can get here, I definitely recommend it. The views here are unparalleled.

I hope these give you some ideas on how to enjoy the beautiful lands of Australia! Everything is fairly accessible, and totally worth it, so plan your trip and enjoy everything you can!


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